Frequently Asked Questions about Diabetes
When receiving a diagnosis of diabetes, the amount of information can be overwhelming. The following are some basic answers to frequently asked questions about diabetes.
What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a chronic (ongoing) disease that occurs in the pancreas. A properly functioning pancreas releases insulin into the blood to help break down sugar and fats. A person with diabetes either does not make insulin, makes too little insulin, or the insulin in the body is not working as it should.
What are the symptoms of diabetes?
There are two types of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2. Type 1 diabetes has symptoms that are typically sudden and severe, including blurred vision, dry mouth, excessive thirst, frequent urination, weight loss, weakness and fatigue. Type 2 diabetes can go unnoticed for some time, and may increase in severity over time. They include blurred vision, itchy skin (especially in the groin), yeast infections, dry mouth, excessive thirst, slow healing wounds, frequent urination.
What causes diabetes?
There is no known specific cause of diabetes, but there are certain factors that have been shown to put one person at a higher risk over another. They include:
- Ethnicity: Native American, Hispanic, African American, Asian American people are often at a higher risk for the disease
- Family history
- Weight (those who are overweight are at a higher risk)
- Age (risk increases with age)
- Certain medications
- Pregnancy (pregnancy may cause gestational diabetes, which needs care during the pregnancy, but often resolves after the baby's birth)
Is there a cure for diabetes?
There is no known cure for diabetes. However, with proper diagnosis and careful management, this disease can be properly treated and controlled. Most diabetics can live normal, healthy lives. Without proper management, serious complications, such as heart disease, blindness and even infections leading to amputation, can occur.